Designated healthcare representative

If a person is planning ahead for healthcare decisions they may need to make in the future, they will be able to choose a designated healthcare representative. This is written down in an advanced healthcare directive.

The designated healthcare representative’s role is to act on the person’s behalf for the healthcare and treatment decisions written in the person’s advance healthcare directive. The person can give their designated healthcare representative the power to interpret their wishes, and to agree or refuse treatment on their behalf.

If a healthcare professional, like a doctor, nurse or social worker, is unsure whether or not the advance healthcare directive should be followed, they must talk to the designated healthcare representative.

A designated healthcare representative only acts on the person’s behalf if they lose the ability to make certain healthcare decisions for themselves.

Who can be a designated healthcare representative?

You can be a designated healthcare representative if you are an adult (18 years and over). You must be willing to act on the person’s behalf, based on their wishes as set out in their advance healthcare directive.

Some people cannot be a designated healthcare representative. You are not allowed to be a designated healthcare representative if you:

  • have been convicted of an offence against the person.
  • are the owner or a registered provider of a designated centre or mental health facility where the person lives (unless you are a relative of the person)
  • provide paid personal care or healthcare services to the person (unless you are a relative or their primary carer).


What is involved in being a designated healthcare representative?

As a designated healthcare representative, your role will be to ensure the person’s advance healthcare directive is complied with.

Read more about What is involved in being a designated healthcare representative?

Monitoring and supervision

Designated healthcare representatives are not required to send reports to us.

However, we can send someone to talk to you, or the person who has appointed you, and ask that person to provide us with a report. For example, we may send a general visitor or special visitor to talk to you if we have received a complaint or want to make sure the agreement is working the way that it should.

If and when the advance healthcare directive comes into effect, you must keep a record of the decisions you make on behalf of the person. If the person regains the ability to make healthcare decisions, you must provide a copy of this record to them. We can also request a copy of the record.

How do I become a designated healthcare representative?

If a person wants you to be their designated healthcare representative, they will name you in their advance healthcare directive.

Read more about How do I become a designated healthcare representative?

How to find out if someone is a designated healthcare representative?

Details of the designated healthcare representative must be included in writing on the advance healthcare directive. In order to check that a person is a designated healthcare representative you can ask to see a copy of the advance healthcare directive.

This will confirm that a designated healthcare representative has been appointed and whether they have the legal authority to make healthcare and treatment decisions on behalf of the person.

Making a complaint about a designated healthcare representative

Any person can make a complaint about a designated healthcare representative. Complaints must be made in writing and must be about the way the designated healthcare representative is using their powers.

Find out more about the different grounds for making a complaint about a designated healthcare representative, here.